When we took a look at how the New York Mets fared in May, we noted that the Mets would be facing a lot of contending teams and would need to play very well to play .500 baseball in June. The Mets, aside from one stretch in the middle of the month, played atrocious baseball. The result was an 11-17 month that saw the Mets' overall record drop to 37-46 on the year, only a half game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies for last place in the division. The Mets have been so bad that they are now closer to the worst record in the league (2.5 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks) then they are to a playoff spot (8 games back in the NL East).
The month started off well in Philadelphia, as the Mets won their last two games in Philadelphia to win four out of five in the series. The Mets didn't win for the rest of the trip, however, getting swept by the lowly Chicago Cubs and mighty San Francisco Giants to lose six games in a row. Things didn't get much better at home, as the Mets dropped two out of three to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Mets managed to win two of three against the San Diego Padres, a team that was somehow more inept than themselves offensively, before heading back onto the road.
The Mets dropped the first two games of their road series with the St. Louis Cardinals, but salvaged the finale behind a strong performance from Bartolo Colon. Colon's outing helped the Mets build some momentum to win three out of four in Miami against the Marlins, and a win by Colon at home over the Oakland A's made it five wins in six games for the Mets. The strong week of play brought the Mets within five games of the .500 mark, leading some to wonder if the team was finally gelling into a more consistent one.
That fell apart quickly, as the Mets dropped five of their next six games to end the month. The skid included dropping the finale against Oakland, three of four in Pittsburgh, and a brutal eighth inning collapse last night that summed up everything that is wrong with the Mets. The Mets, who were only 5.5 games out in the division on June 25th, are now eight games back of the Braves with two more to go in Atlanta before they return home for their last 10 games prior to the All Star Break.
We speculated in our May recap that the firing of Dave Hudgens was a precursor to Terry Collins' departure if the team continued to struggle. The Mets have continued to struggle, but it does not appear as if Collins' job is in any immediate danger. Mets' GM Sandy Alderson made it clear earlier in the month that he feels the Mets' struggles aren't Collins' fault, giving the manager a little job security for the time being. That being said, the Mets are fading into irrelevance very quickly and someone will likely be on the hot seat sooner rather than later.
The Mets got lucky that no one really noticed them falling off the map with the New York Rangers' run to the Stanley Cup Finals and the World Cup kicking off, but with the hockey playoffs long done and the World Cup entering it's last week and a half people are beginning to notice the Mets are way out of the playoff hunt. The Mets would need to 53-26 in their final 79 games to meet Alderson's 90 win goal, a winning percentage of .671. Considering the Mets haven't played anywhere near .600 baseball since 2007, the 90 win talk is long out the window.
The Mets road in July could lead to them being buried as one of (if not the) worst teams in baseball before NFL training camps open. The Mets finish out their series with the Braves at Turner Field before kicking off a 10 game home stand to close out the first half of the year. That homestand will feature visits from the Texas Rangers, Braves, and Marlins. The Mets could easily find themselves anywhere from 10-13 games out of the division chase by the time the All Star Break rolls around. Things don't get any easier after the break, as the Mets head out West for a nine game road trip to San Diego, Seattle, and Milwaukee. If the Mets bumble through that stretch as well, a three game home series against the Phillies closes out the month and all the talk will likely be about who the Mets could move at the trade deadline.
One man who could find himself on the move if the team goes off the cliff is Bartolo Colon. Colon was the team's star on the mound in June, going 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA in six starts. The Mets were 4-2 when Colon took the mound in June compared to 7-15 when any other starter took the mound. The Mets got strong months at the plate from Curtis Granderson (,300, 5 HR, 13 RBI), Lucas Duda (.282, 5, 17), and rumored trade candidate Daniel Murphy (.313, 3, 11), but the big problem for the Mets was not enough players hitting at once.
The Mets have gotten plenty of quality starting pitching this season and even improved the bullpen dramatically. The Mets' bullpen ERA is 3.23, which is the ninth best mark in the major leagues. They have actually outperformed the starters, who are carrying a good 3.76 ERA as a unit. The Mets' big problem remains their lineup, whose team batting average of .239 is the fourth worst mark in baseball. If the Mets can't get some sort of improvement from their lineup, the Mets could end up finding themselves with the worst record in baseball before July is over.
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